How Much Can You Afford?
Posted by Jenna Nichol on January 8th, 2013 at 3:39 pm
Why is it so important to know how much you can afford to spend on a
First, you don't want to buy a property and then find out, only after you’ve
moved in, that you can't financially maintain it. That would mean having to
resell it under stressful conditions.
Second, you don't want to settle for a property that's less than ideal, when
you really could have afforded the "dream home" you've always wanted.
So how do you figure out how much you can afford to pay for your next
The first step is to talk to a good REALTOR®. He or she will help you gain a
clearer understanding of how much your current home will likely sell for in
today's market. That amount, together with other financial resources you
might have (such as savings), will determine your down payment.
The next thing you’ll need to figure out is your mortgage. Your REALTOR®
can help you find a lender who will take a variety of factors into account –
income, credit rating, debts, expected down payment, etc. – to calculate the
maximum amount of mortgage for which you qualify.
Say, through the proceeds of the sale of your home combined with your
savings, your expected down payment is $90,000. If the lender authorizes a
mortgage of $270,000, then you can afford a $360,000 home.
Of course, that doesn't mean you'll need to spend that much. In fact, a
home that meets your needs in terms of property type, features, and
neighbourhood, may in fact cost you less.
One thing is for sure. A good REALTOR® can work with whatever amount
you can afford and show you homes on the market that most closely meet
Looking for a good REALTOR®? Call today.
Swiss Home Builders Is Building Timber Frame – From Homes to Gazebos – on Vancouver Island
Posted by Jenna Nichol on December 17th, 2012 at 1:19 pm
Swiss Home Builders Ltd. build custom timber frame houses and carriage houses from start to finish on Vancouver Island, in the Comox Valley, Campbell River, Nanaimo and Victoria.
The builders work with their clients from the beginning of the building process to the completion of a new home - from access road and septic field, to interior finishing. A one-stop full service, the company has 50 years of combined experience in Home Building and Property Development. Swiss Home Builders combine cutting edge Cad design and old-style European Craftsmanship to manufacture any post and beam, timber and glue lam structure designed for any property.
One project at a time Swiss Home Builders create green, energy efficient homes, that are healthy, long lasting, and beautiful. Swiss Home Builders offer typical West Coast homes, carriage houses, as well as upgrades for existing homes such as timber framed entrance ways, trusses, curved braces and timber components. Swiss Home Builders is your ideal partner for a smaller carriage house offering a line of options on small homes.
No project is too small. With Swiss Home Builders your home will be long-lasting, beautiful and will show their excellent craftsmanship. It will be a healthy, comfortable place for you and your family – that is their top priority.
Excerpted From 1stView.ca
Preparing Your Home For Winter Showings
Posted by Jenna Nichol on December 11th, 2012 at 11:37 am
There is no doubt about it! Even if the weather is relatively pleasant, yourhome won’t show as well in the winter as it would in the summer, especially from the outside. Fortunately, there are many ways to make your home look more attractive and appealing to buyers during the winter season.
First, before showing your home to a potential buyer, clear your front walkway. Make sure fence doors and gates open freely. Also, clear off the backyard deck or patio area. You want buyers to be able to explore around your property without any obstructions. In short, do everything you can to make the experience of walking up to your front door and around your property as pleasant as possible.
Second, clear away any boots, shoes and other outerwear from the front foyer. You want buyers to focus on your beautiful home, not a cluttered entranceway. Also, have mats on both the outside and inside of your main entranceway. This will give buyers – as well as you and your family – a chance to wipe their boots and shoes. Next, adjust your thermostat. You want your home to feel warm, cozy and comfortable for potential buyers.
Finally, remember that in the winter, homes show much better during the day. In the evening, it may be too dark to fully appreciate your property. So work with your REALTOR® to schedule viewings during the day whenever possible. If you can, also have pictures of your property available that showcase what it looks like in the summer. That takes planning. So if you're even just casually thinking of the possibility of selling your home, take some good "summer" pictures.
Want more advice on how to sell your home in the winter? Call today.
New Campbell River Patio Home Development Now Well Over 50% Sold
Posted by Jenna Nichol on October 17th, 2012 at 2:44 pm
Springwood Park is a new Campbell River patio home Development located on McPhedran Road. Phase I of this bare land Strata real estate project includes 26 homes and 17 of the homes have already been sold. These new Patio homes range in size from 1,300 to 1,400 square feet and have three bedrooms or two bedrooms and den. All of these Campbell River homes offers two bathrooms, including a spa ensuite. They also include hardwood floors, granite countertops, blinds and landscaping. Cozy covered patios offer private outdoor space. Four additional units are now under construction and two more units will be started next month. Prices range from $249,000 to $289,000.
Excerpted From 1stView.ca
What You Need To Ask Your REALTOR®
Posted by Jenna Nichol on August 1st, 2012 at 2:01 pm
There are a ton of REALTORS® out there to choose from. Most people choose a friend, family member or friend of a friend or family member. Some people may interview more than one REALTOR® hoping to find the best one. However you find your REALTOR® there are a few things you should ask when deciding if that REALTOR® is right for you.
1. Are you a full time or a part-time REALTOR®?
Not long ago REALTORS® could were not allowed to have a second job. Today things have changed and you should ask whether or not your REALTOR® is doing something else as well. If they do have a second job or business ask how they manage both and what positive or negative effects this could have on the sale of your home.
2. How many listings do you have?
Based on the way we normally think the more listings a REALTOR® has the better. A REALTOR® who has a lot of listings must be good because all of these other people trust him or her. However, just because a REALTOR® does a ton of business doesn’t mean they are the REALTOR® for you. In fact a REALTOR® with only a handful of listings likely has more time for you and your property. Whether they do a large or small volume of business each year find out how they manage that business and your listing in order to help you decide which way you prefer to do business.
3. Do you have an assistant or a team?
For some people, like a developer for example, a team of REALTORS® may be important to handle the high volume of listings and sales involved in a development. However for an individual or family selling their home they may prefer to deal with just one REALTOR® directly at all times rather than an assistant or multiple REALTORS®. Find out how both the team and the individual REALTOR® conduct business and who you will be dealing with for each part of the process. Then decide which business model suits your needs the best.
4. What services are included in your commission?
We all remember to ask how much the commission is but most of us never think to ask what services are included. Does it include a certain number of open houses? Does it include weekly ads in your local real estate section? Does it include expensive high end advertising that may or be important for the type of property you are trying to sell? Does it include home staging or professional photos? What is or is not included can be helpful in determining which rate is truly better for you.
5. How will you market my property?
Will you be doing a virtual tour? Will you be doing open houses? Will you be marketing out of province? Will there be any REALTOR® open houses? Do you use social media tools like Twitter and Facebook to get exposure? Will you send out mail-outs? Do you have a website?
Different sellers have different wants and needs. Some need a team of REALTORS® and some want to only deal with one REALTOR®. Some want the exposure that social media has to offer and some are not comfortable with their home being plastered all over the internet. It is important that you ask the proper questions in order to find a REALTOR® who you will be happy with.
Why You Don't Want To Rent To Own
Posted by Jenna Nichol on July 11th, 2012 at 3:56 pm
Why you don’t want to rent to own
For some people, renting to own seems like a great way to buy their first home. Maybe even the only way. However rent to own agreements rarely turn into a completed sale. Here’s why.
First I need to explain how agreements to rent to own typically work. Sellers want to sell their house not finance you for 25 to 30 years. The idea is that you agree to a certain term during which your rent goes toward the purchase price of the house like a down payment. You also agree that once the term is up you will get financing for the remainder of the purchase price and complete the purchase of the property. Now you have to wonder why any seller would want to take this route rather than the traditional one.
Let’s say you want to rent to own in a down market. A rent to own situation definitely seems to have positive aspects for a seller, but is it at all in the interest of the buyer? The answer is that it isn’t in the best interest of either party. The longer the seller’s house sits on the market the less it is going to be worth. If renting to own for a year or two means they can sell their house sooner and get a sale price of $360,000 rather than $300,000 6 months down the road then that is a deal worth considering. Except, any buyer who gets into the deal at $360,000 is likely going to do everything they can to get out of it if when they see they can buy an equal property for $60,000 less. As a Seller renting to own in a down market you run a high risk of losing the deal and being forced to sell at the bottom of the market and as a Buyer you run the risk of being caught in a contract to purchase a house that is not worth the purchase price.
Now let’s say that you want to rent to own in an up market. After everything I just explained this seems like a great idea right? Wrong. Why would a seller want to lock into a contract he is not going to see any money from for let’s say a year if he could wait that year and get $60,000 more? You would probably have a hard time finding a seller who is willing to rent to own in an up market anyway, but if you do I can almost guarantee you the house will be way overpriced.
What it really comes down to in my opinion is length of time for completion. That is the real reason rent to own situations rarely work out. When you sell a house the traditional way the amount of time it takes for the deal to complete from the time you have an accepted offer is usually about 1-2months with the condition removal period being about 2 weeks. There is not a lot of time for the market to change drastically or for the buyer or seller to have a change of heart like there is in a rent to own situation with a term of say 6months to 1 year. If you are a buyer thinking of renting to own, consider what you just read. Talk to a mortgage broker and find out what your options are. There are all kinds of creative ways to come up with a down payment these days. Also, talk to a REALTOR®. If you are dead set on renting to own at least have a REALTOR® screen the listings for you and help you find a legitimate seller and a fair price.
3 Benefits Of Being A First Time Home Buyer
Posted by Jenna Nichol on July 6th, 2012 at 12:28 pm
Buying your first home can seem unattainable at the best of times so it’s hard to imagine how it could be beneficial to be a first time home buyer. With average home prices hovering around the $290,000 mark in Campbell River you sometimes wonder how people ever get into the market. But they do! Luckily for you as a first time home buyer there are programs available to help you take that big first step into home ownership.
To get things started, first there is the “Home Buyers Plan”. This one is important because in order to buy a home you need to have at least 5% down in order to qualify for a CMHC insured mortgage. With the average home sale price in Campbell River hovering around $290,000 the average down payment would be $14,500. Luckily the Home Buyers Plan allows first time home buyers’ to take a one-time tax free withdrawal of up to $25,000 from their RRSP’s to make a down payment. Great news!! To learn more about this plan go to http://www.cra-arc.gc.ca/tx/ndvdls/tpcs/rrsp-reer/hbp-rap/menu-eng.html
As if buying a home isn’t already expensive enough now you find out you have to pay a property transfer tax?? This is equal to 1% of the first $200,000 of your home and 2% of the Remainder. An average of $3,800 based on our average home price. Luckily there is the “First Time Home Buyers’ Program” which exempts you from paying the property transfer tax! To qualify you simply must be a first time home buyer and your property must meet certain requirements. To find out more go to http://www.sbr.gov.bc.ca/business/property_taxes/property_transfer_tax/first_Time_home_buyer.htm
Now you’ve bought your home and life is great but money has been a little tight lately. Don’t sweat it, tax season is here and you have money coming your way! Well I guess that depends on your tax return but there is a “First Time Home Buyers’ Tax Credit” which offers qualifying buyers a non-refundable income tax credit. And if you bought a brand new home you may qualify for the “First Time NEW HOME Buyers’ Bonus”. This is a one-time refundable income tax credit worth up to $10,000. That’s a big chunk of change! Read more about these two tax credits here:
Now you see how you may have been mistaken about never getting into the market. With interest rates and home prices as low as they are, some would say you can’t afford not to! For more information give me a call. I am always happy to chat and discuss with you which programs you may qualify for and how they will affect your affordability.
5 Things Your REALTOR® Won't Tell You
Posted by Jenna Nichol on July 3rd, 2012 at 10:12 am
1) Prices are going to go down or up. As much as we would love to tell you what is going to happen, no one really knows for sure. We all have our opinions, but it would be unprofessional for us as REALTORS® to tell you something we cannot know.
2) I guarantee you I can sell your house for $....... Unless Your REALTOR® has some sort of program where they buy your home if it doesn’t sell it is unlikely that you will ever catch them guaranteeing a price. There are just too many unknowns. When we give you a price we give you our best guess based on what we can compare your home to. It is not an exact science, although the results are usually very accurate. In any case, it cannot be guaranteed because it is not a fact it is an estimate.
3) My seller will take less. Unless the seller has given his or her REALTOR® permission to say so, a REALTOR® cannot disclose whether or not they are willing to accept an offer below the asking price.
4) My commission rate is the standard rate. Implying that their rate is what everyone charges is price fixing which is illegal. REALTORS® can charge whatever they choose and there are many different services with many different commission rates and structures out there for buyers and sellers to choose from.
5) The roof is brand new if it is not. There is a lot of liability involved in being a REALTOR® and therefore we are extremely diligent. You can feel confident that when we tell you something it has been properly researched and it is not just on a whim.
Changes To Mortgage Rules
Posted by Jenna Nichol on June 21st, 2012 at 11:18 am
Changes to mortgage rules were announced today and set to begin July 9th, 2012. Two of the most notable changes will be the reduced amortization period from 30 years to 25 years and the fixing of Debt Servicing Ratios. To give you a rough idea about how the reduced amortization period will affect your monthly payments check out my mortgage calculator here http://jennanichol.com/page/mortgage-calculator to play around with the different amortization periods. As far as the Debt Service Ratio’s go, the maximum Gross Debt Service Ratio is said to be fixed at 39% and the maximum Total Debt Service Ratio at 44% effecting the amount you are will qualify to borrow. This is intended to keep the size of the loan in a healthy balance with the amount of household income.
Other changes are to include the maximum amount homeowners are able to refinance against their homes as well as the availability of insured mortgages. The loan to value Ratio for refinancing will be reduced from 85% to 80% and insured mortgages will be limited to homes under the $1 million mark. Go to http://www.theglobeandmail.com/report-on-business/economy/housing/flaherty-clamps-down-on-mortgage-rules-to-cool-overheating-market/article4359232/ to read more about these changes and how they are expected to affect the economy. To read why Mr. Carney believes these steps are necessary and how they will lead to long term stability check out this article by the Globe and Mail. http://www.theglobeandmail.com/report-on-business/economy/ottawas-new-mortgage-rules-will-lead-to-long-term-stability-carney/article4359697/?cmpid=rss1
Thanks for reading! I would love to hear what you think about these changes? Are you happy about them or do you think it will have a negative affect? Please post your comments :)
How's The Market? May In Campbell River.
Posted by Jenna Nichol on June 6th, 2012 at 11:08 am
Taking a look at the month of May, we had 9% more listings and 5% more sales than we did during the same month last year. The ratio of sales to listings was 43% indicating that inventory is starting to build up for the summer months. There were a total of 338 listings on the market 99 of which were listed in May. Lots to choose from if you are a Buyer! Sellers there is some good news for you too this month, the average sale price for a single family home is up 6% to $306,908 and they are selling for an average of 96% of list price after an average of 89 days on the market. If a 6% price increase doesn’t get you excited maybe this will. The average Sale price in April was $277,081 meaning that the average sale price jumped almost $30,000 from April to May. Wow! That is a $10.8% increase. On another note, the Bank of Canada has announced again yesterday that they are not going to raise their interest rate. Rates have been on hold now since 2010. When are rates going to go up? No one knows but check out this video on BNN http://watch.bnn.ca/#clip692693
How's The Market? April In Campbell River
Posted by Jenna Nichol on May 10th, 2012 at 3:29 pm
During the month of April Single Family home sales accounted for 52% of the homes that were listed during that same period. On average these homes sold for just over $277,000 which equalled about 95% of the asking price and took an average of 66 days to sell. Don’t know what any of this really means? Compared to the same month last year prices are down 5% (only 2% year to date), the homes that sold, sold fairly quickly (66 days to sell) because they were priced right (sold for 95% of asking price).
For those of you wondering about selling a lot there have been 114 lots sold in the last 12 months. If you compare that to the 867 single family homes that sold during the same period you will see that they don’t sell as quickly as houses. In fact according to the stats the lots that sold during the month of April took an average of 846 days to sell!! If you were planning to sell your lot next year, maybe you should think about listing it now.
Condo’s …….condos are categorized into apartments, patio homes and townhouses. 2 of the 12 apartment style condos that were listed last month sold for an average of $207,450 and took an average of 313 days to sell. 4 of the 7 patio homes that were listed sold for an average of $246,754 and took an average of 204 days to sell. 3 of the 4 townhouses that were listed sold for an average of $185,500 and took an average of 86 days to sell. What I said before about lots goes for condos as well. If you were planning to sell next year, you might want to think about listing it now.
Buyers Nightmare/Sellers Dream; the multiple offer situation
Posted by Jenna Nichol on April 26th, 2012 at 2:27 pm
Scared Of Multiple Offers? Multiple offers are feared by Buyers and fantasized about by sellers. They can make emotionally attached Buyers pay more money than they dreamed they ever would and give sellers more power in negotiations than they could have ever thought possible. It’s not always a negative experience for buyers though. In fact it can be a very positive experience if you prepare yourself and know what to expect. Here’s what you need to know going into a competing offer on a home.
There are certain guidelines that REALTORS® must follow when dealing with multiple offers. First the Sellers Agent must inform all Buyers who will be making an offer on the property of the multiple offer situation. This way each prospective Buyer gets a chance to make their best offer. Once the multiple offer situation has been established, each offer is presented to the seller in the order they were received. After all offers have been presented, the Seller will have time to consider them before deciding to counter or accept an offer. Throughout this process communication between the seller and each participating Buyer is very important to ensure that each party feels they have been dealt with fairly. Once a decision is made all parties must be informed that the seller has either chosen to deal with an offer or accept an offer. If a counter offer is to be made; only one offer can be dealt with at a time in order to avoid accidentally selling the property to more than one Buyer. Knowing how this process takes place and your rights as a Buyer will give you confidence and help you to think clearly throughout the multiple offer situation.
When you go into multiples, no offer price can ever really guarantee that yours will be accepted. It may help to know that most homes that go into multiple offers sell for the full list price or higher. However even if you offered $20,000 over list price, that doesn’t mean your competitors didn’t want it so bad they offered more. Even more important is the fact that Sellers don’t always sell to the highest bidder. Sometimes they will even accept an offer with a lower price. This could be because the lower offer was not conditional upon something important like financing or maybe it had completion and possession dates that were more suitable to the seller. Other times they will accept a lower offer simply because they are emotionally attached to their home and they want to see it go to another family or someone who shares their love of gardening. For this reason it is a good idea to ask your REALTOR® to present the offer to the seller and the seller’s REALTOR® on your behalf. This face to face time can and does win over sellers from time to time. It could be the difference between your offer and another similar offer.
All kinds of things can happen when you are going into multiple offers. They are definitely not for everyone. The important thing is to know what fair market value is for the home and whether or not you are willing to pay more than that. If you are, decide what your ceiling price is at the start and stick to it. If you follow those simple rules you should be able to avoid having any Buyers remorse.
How's the Market? March in Campbell River
Posted by Jenna Nichol on April 14th, 2012 at 10:48 am
If you Bought Real Estate in Campbell River in March you probably did well. During the month the number of homes sold to homes listed in Campbell River was equal to 51%. Not the greatest odds for sellers. Of the homes that sold the average sale price was just over $269,000 which is an 11% drop from the same month last year. Keep in mind however that year to date the average sale price is only down 2%. Each home that sold took an average of 63 days to sell and sold for an average of 95% of the asking price. In total the number of active listings on the market was 287 making for a nice selection of homes for Buyers to choose from. If you are a seller, keep your chin up and get at your spring cleaning because summer is almost here!
All statistics are taken from the Vancouver Island Real Estate Board and are based on Single Family home sales in the Campbell River area.
The Do’s And Don’ts of Home Renovations
Posted by Jenna Nichol on March 29th, 2012 at 3:34 pm
There are plenty of reasons to renovate your home. Whether it is to build some sweat equity, keep up with the maintenance and repairs, follow the latest trends or just to make it your own. These are all great reasons to renovate. However, before you start it’s important to know what your expectations of the renovation are.
If you are renovating your home strictly for your own enjoyment and you aren’t concerned about recovering the cost of those renovations, then there are no right or wrong renovations for you. Go ahead and put in those granite countertops, add that addition, paint the walls purple or make that third bedroom into the walk in closet or bathroom you always dreamed of having. These types of renovations won’t likely yield you a profit when you sell your home but they will offer you plenty of personal enjoyment over the years. As long as you aren’t expecting to see that money back you won’t be disappointed.
However, if you are renovating your home to sell it there are certain things you should keep in mind. First, it’s important to know what similar homes in your neighbourhood are selling for. From there you can get a pretty good idea how much money you can put toward renovations and still make a profit. Don’t expect to get more than what the most valuable home in your neighborhood recently sold for. Often people renovate their homes by adding additions and high end finishing’s hoping to increase their market value but usually end up losing precious time and money in the end. It’s easy to do if you put granite countertops and other high end finishing’s in the wrong neighborhood. Most people are surprised to find that not only do renovations rarely yield a profit; they often won’t even return the cost of the renovation itself. Aside from painting, kitchens and bathrooms are most commonly the top rated home renovation projects when it comes to yielding a high return on your investment. What most people don’t realize is that they top the list by simply paying back 75 to 100% of the cost of the renovation, not by yielding a profit. Painting on the other hand is a great idea if you’re planning to sell, especially if you have brightly colored rooms. It will not only freshen things up but it also opens your home to a much broader market if you are changing to neutral colors.
Next it’s important that you renovate for everyone else rather than your own personal preference. Everything you do should be in an attempt to appeal to the broadest possible market. More Buyers equals more demand for your home and more money for you. Pick colors and finishing’s that you see builders using in new homes and most importantly never change bedrooms or bathrooms into something else; at least not without consulting a professional for advice first ;)
Not sure what to do anymore? The Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation has a great website http://www.cmhc-schl.gc.ca/en/co/renoho/index.cfm that offers a lot of information for homeowners who are planning a renovation. Also, if you are planning to sell your home and think it needs some renovations, give me a call. I am more than happy to come have a look and chat with you about which renovations are worth considering and which ones you should avoid.
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